Best Foods For Bala Sharks Based on Ingredient Quality

Deciding on the right food for your Bala shark is important. They grow to be a very large fish, upwards of 12 inches (30 centimeters) or more, which makes proper nutrition as they develop very important.

This species is native to the rivers and lakes of Borneo, Sumatra and the Malay Peninsula in Southeast Asia, and eat an omnivorous diet made up of insects and their larvae, small crustaceans as well as some algae and other plant material.

To help you recreate a balanced diet, I don’t want to just give you a list of foods, I also want to show you how to analyze fish food and instantly know if it’s quality or not.

Key Takeaways

  • First ingredients listed are the most important
  • General fish meal = Low-quality
  • A little wheat to help bind fish food together is okay
  • Specific fish meal (e.g., krill meal) is acceptable
  • Whole fish as the first ingredient = highest-quality
  • Bala sharks need a variety of animal proteins and plant foods
  • Spirulina is a great color enhancer
  • Shrimp, Krill, and Marigold are great color enhancers for red, yellow and orange

Foods which fit this for Bala Sharks:

  • New Life Spectrum Optimum Flakes
  • Spirulina 20 Flakes
  • Omega One Super Color Flakes
  • New Life Spectrum Cichlid
  • Northfin Cichlid
  • Northfin Krill
  • Bug Bites Cichlid
  • Repashy Super Gold

High-Quality Ingredients Vs Low-Quality Ingrdients

When looking at foods for bala sharks, the first ingredient listed will be what the food is mostly made up of.

Low-quality foods will list something like generic fish meal, and fillers like corn or soy first.

Generic fish meal is the leftovers of fish carcasses after the meat and oil have been removed. It’s the guts, bones and scales, essentially, the trash from harvesting the edible parts of a fisherman’s catch.

Some parts are completely indigestible, like scales, fins and teeth, and will just pass through the fish’s digestion as waste, contributing to the bioload of the aquarium without providing any meaningful nutrition.

Here is an example of low-quality fish food you should avoid

If generic fish meal is the first ingredient of a fish food, I would recommend skipping it, and look for something that provides higher quality nutrition.

Whole ingredients, like whole fish, shrimp or krill, contain more usable protein than fish carcasses that have been stripped of all their meat.

Here’s an example of high-quality ingredient

As well, non-aquatic fillers like soy and corn can’t really be broken down by a fish’s digestive system, so they just become waste, creating more poop, but providing very few actual nutrients. 

An example of high-quality whole fish meal

But don’t be put off if you see wheat in the ingredients listed. Some wheat as a binding agent is perfectly acceptable. You just don’t want it to be listed as the first.

Best Foods For Bala Sharks With High-Quality Ingredients

New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes

These flakes are made from protein sources, like krill, squid and whole fish, as well as great plant-based foods like a mix of seaweeds, kelp, spirulina, marigold and algae. They make a great staple diet for bala sharks and will serve them well.

Click For Full Ingredients

Krill (Euphasia superba), Squid (Dosidicus gigas), Whole Wheat Flour, Fish (Brevoortia tyrannus), Garlic, Fish Oil, Seaweed (Ulva latuca, Undaria pinnatafida, Euchema  cottonii, Euchema spinosum, Chondrus crispus), Green Algae (Chlorella pyrendoidosa), Kelp, Ginger, Astaxanthin, Spirulina, Marigold, Bentonite Clay, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Acetate,Vitamin D Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement,Vitamin B12 Supplement,  Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride,Calcium Pantothenate,  L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Tocopherols (a preservative)

New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food
New Life Spectrum Naturox Optimum All Purpose Flakes 90g Fish Food

    Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food

    Spirulina 20 has always been one of the foods that I rotate around for my various aquariums. It is a good mix between animal based ingredients and large amounts of spirulina, which is packed with all sorts of different nutrients. I’ve always had good growth from this food.

    Click For Full Ingredients

    Salmon Fish Meal, Spirulina Algae Meal, Soy Flour, Wheat Flour, Corn Starch, Dried Krill Meal, Shrimp Meal, Plankton Meal, Lecithin, Vegetable Oil, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (stabilized Vitamin C)

    Sale
    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce
    Zoo Med Spirulina 20 Flake Fish Food, 4-Ounce

      Last update on 2024-05-22 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

      Omega One Super Color Flakes

      These flakes have always been a favorite in my fish room and your bala sharks will love them. They’re made up of great protein sources, like salmon, whole herring and whole shrimp. Mixed with pea protein, kelp and color enhancing marigold extract. Omega One super color flakes contain very high-quality ingredients.

      Click For Full Ingredients

      Salmon, Whole Herring, Wheat Flour, Whole Shrimp, Pea Protein, Wheat Gluten, Herring Oil, Kelp, Mixed Tocopherols, Carmine, Annatto Extract, Citric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Marigold Extract, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Inositol, Astaxanthin, Canthaxanthin, Riboflavin, Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement

      Omega One Super Color Flakes 5.3 oz
      Omega One Super Color Flakes 5.3 oz

        Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

        New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula

        New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula is packed with proteins like krill, giant, squid and whole fish ideal for bala sharks. It also contains plant ingredients, such as a variety of seaweeds, and Marigold, which is a color enhancing ingredient.

        Click For Full Ingredients

        Krill (Euphasia superba), Squid (Dosidicus gigas), Whole Wheat Flour, Fish (Brevoortia tyrannus), Seaweed (Ulva latuca, Undaria pinnatafida, Euchema cottonii, Euchema spinosum, Chondrus crispus), Green Algae (Chlorella pyrendoidosa), Kelp, Garlic, Ginger, Astaxanthin, Spirulina, Fish Oil, Marigold, Bentonite Clay, Sea Salt, Vitamin A Acetate, Vitamin D Supplement, Vitamin E Supplement, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Niacin, Folic Acid, Biotin, Thiamine Hydrochloride, Riboflavin Supplement, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Calcium Pantothenate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate (Vitamin C), Choline Chloride, Ethylenediamine Dihydroiodide, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Tocopherols (a preservative)

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        New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula Supplement, 300g
        New Life Spectrum Naturox Series Cichlid Formula Supplement, 300g

          Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

          Northfin Fish Food Cichlid Formula Slow Sinking Pellets 2mm

          These slow, sinking pellets compact with excellent protein sources, like krill, whole herring, Whole sardines, kelp, and spirulina. This is a great mix of plant and protein food sources that could easily be used as a staple diet for bala sharks.

          Click For Full Ingredients

          Whole Antarctic Krill Meal (Euphausia Superba), High DHA Omega-3 Whole Herring Meal, Whole Sardine Meal, Wheat Flour, Organic Kelp (Laminariales), Spirulina, Garlic (Allium Sativum), Astaxanthin, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Cholecalciferol, Alpha-tocopherol Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Sulfate Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc, Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis)

          Northfin Fish Food Cichlid Formula Slow Sinking Pellets (2mm 250g)
          Northfin Fish Food Cichlid Formula Slow Sinking Pellets (2mm 250g)

            Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

            Northfin Fish Food Krill Formula Slow Sinking Pellets

            These slow, sinking pellets are primarily sourced from whole krill, kelp, and spirulina. This high protein content would be excellent for smaller bala sharks not yet fully grown.

            Click For Full Ingredients

            Whole Antarctic Krill Meal (Euphausia Superba), Wheat flour, Organic Kelp (Laminariales), Garlic (Allium Sativum), Spirulina (Dietary Supplement), Astaxanthin, Montmorillonite Clay, Vitamin A Acetate, L-Ascorbyl-2-Polyphosphate, Cholecalciferol, Alpha-tocopherol Acetate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Riboflavin Supplement, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Thiamine, Calcium Pantothenate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid, Biotin, Choline Chloride, Cobalt Sulfate, Ferrous Sulfate, Manganese Sulfate, Selenium, Zinc, Rosemary Extract (Rosmarinus Officinalis)

            Northfin Fish Food Krill Formula Slow Sinking Pellets (2mm 80g)
            Northfin Fish Food Krill Formula Slow Sinking Pellets (2mm 80g)

              Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

              Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Formula

              Bug Bites Cichlid Food is a great way to add in some protein to your bala shark’s diet. Its main protein sources are black soldier fly larvae and salmon. The larvae helps mimic the insects that most fish eat in the wild. Because of the limited ingredient list, I would use this food as an add-on, rather than a staple.

              Click For Full Ingredients

              Dried Black Soldier Fly Larvae, Salmon, Fish Protein Concentrate, Green Peas, Potato, Wheat, Dicalcium Phosphate, Calcium Carbonate, Dl-Methionine, Lecithin, Choline Chloride, L-Lysine, Vitamin E Supplement, Biotin, Niacin, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2 Monophosphate, Calendula, Zinc Oxide, Manganous Oxide, D-Calcium Pantothenate, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Beta-Carotene, Rosemary Extract, Riboflavin, Copper Sulfate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Inositol, Folic Acid, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Iodate, Sodium Selenite, Vitamin D3 Supplement

              Sale
              Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.59 oz., A6580
              Fluval Bug Bites Cichlid Fish Food, Granules for Small to Medium Sized Fish, 1.59 oz., A6580

                Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                Repashy Super Gold

                Although this food is marketed towards goldfish, it contains foods suitable for bala sharks. It has a nice balance between high-quality protein sources and plant-based ingredients. This would make a really well balanced staple diet for most species of tropical fish including bala sharks.

                Click For Full Ingredients

                Krill Meal, Spirulina Algae, Black Soldier Fly Larvae Meal, Chlorella Algae, Squid Meal, Dandelion Leaf, Seaweed Meal, Whole Egg, Pea Protein Isolate, Rice Protein Concentrate, Banana Powder, Brewer’s Dried Yeast, Mussel Meal, Mango Powder, Lecithin, Locust Bean Gum, Citric Acid, Stinging Nettle, Garlic, Ginger, Cinnamon, Dried Kelp, Phaffia Yeast, Dried Watermelon, RoseHips, Hibiscus Flower, Marigold Flower, Paprika, Turmeric, Salt, Calcium Propionate and Potassium Sorbate (as preservatives), Magnesium Amino Acid Chelate, Zinc Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Manganese Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate, Copper Methionine Hydroxy Analogue Chelate. Vitamins: (Vitamin A Supplement, Vitamin D Supplement, Calcium L-Ascorbyl-2-Monophosphate, Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta Carotene, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Thiamine Mononitrate, Folic Acid, Biotin, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Menadione Sodium Bisulfite Complex)

                Repashy Super Gold Goldfish and Koi Gel Food 6 Oz JAR
                Repashy Super Gold Goldfish and Koi Gel Food 6 Oz JAR

                  Last update on 2024-05-23 / Commissions Earned / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

                  Frozen and Live Foods

                  Frozen bloodworms are always a favorite with these fish. They provide a good amount of protein and Bala sharks will love them.

                  California blackworms are a great live food that you can order online. They’re an aquatic species related to the common earthworm. They are also rich in protein that is easily digested by fish.

                  Daphnia (aka water fleas) are tiny crustaceans, very similar to what Bala sharks would eat in the wild. They can be found as a frozen food, or you can culture them yourself as a live food.

                  Variety is Important 

                  One of the best things you can do is offer your Bala sharks a varied diet. In nature, fish eat whatever they can come across, so they eat a huge variety of things.

                  Just like humans, fish need to eat a lot of different foods so they can get all the different nutrients their bodies need.

                  It’s best to rotate around several different foods each week so they can eat a balanced diet. 

                  Luckily, Bala sharks aren’t picky eaters and will readily accept most types of food. So you shouldn’t have a hard time getting them to eat the foods you pick out for them.

                  Katherine Morgan
                  Katherine Morgan

                  Hey, there! I'm Katherine from Northwest Florida. An aquarium specialist, I've kept tanks for over two decades, enjoy experimenting with low-tech planted setups and an avid South American cichlid enthusiast.

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